NOVA’s Sixth Annual Climate Change Symposium featured guest speakers Greg Buppert from the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) and Josh Fox, director of the critically acclaimed films “Gasland” and “Gasland II.” April was environmental awareness month and the symposium was held on Earth Day, April 22.
The symposium’s featured subject was “Hydraulic Fracturing,” commonly known as fracking. This is the process of drilling and injecting highly-pressurized caustic fluid into the ground in order to fracture shale rocks to release natural gas. It is not without severe environmental and social consequences to the communities it affects. Locally, the most imminent threat of fracking is to the George Washington National Forest and over four million people whose only drinking water is sourced from the Potomac River.
Faculty, staff, students and the Loudoun community all worked together to make the event successful. The NOVA Office of Sustainability and the NOVA Loudoun Green Team supported the event. Panelists included NOVA’s Bill Bour and Mark Green, Buppert from SELC, and Mary Ellen Cassidy from the FracTracker organization.
The afternoon included a screening of Fox’s original film “Gasland” followed by questions and an in-depth, informative look at current circumstances surrounding the issue. Fox’s update was extremely insightful, compelling and moving, proving he is not only an accomplished filmmaker, but also a passionate advocate for people and the environment.
Exhibitors included tables and representatives from Sierra Club (Great Falls Group), 350 Loudoun, NOVA Horticulture Club, NOVA Loudoun Green Team and NOVA Environmental Sciences.
Special thanks to Bour (Geology), Green (Environmental Science), Gillian Backus (Biology), John Kincheloe (History), Acting Dean of Natural and Applied Sciences Joe Agnich (Math), NOVA Sustainability Officer Rob Johnson, Joe Payne (Loudoun IT Services), Loudoun students Ryan Kranenberg, Himmat Singh, the NOVA Loudoun Green Team and NOVA Loudoun Police.